Canadians snap up Swedish children’s digital gaming toy

Swedish hit app Toca Boca, which has been riding high on Sweden's tech and startup success since its launch in Stockholm five years ago, has been sold to a Canadian entertainment firm.

Canadians snap up Swedish children's digital gaming toy
Swedish children's gaming app Toca Boca. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish media giant Bonnier said it intended its Toca Boca startup for the international market when it launched in 2011 and the digital toys application for children has grown globally since.

The company announced late on Thursday that it is now selling the venture to Toronto-based children's entertainment firm Spin Master, confirming persistent rumours a deal was in the making.

“With Toca Boca ready for the next step, it's the right business choice for Bonnier to hand over the reins to a new owner with a base where Toca Boca can grow, both in terms of products and geography,” said Ulrika Saxon, CEO for Bonnier Growth Media, in a press statement.

Toca Boca racked up revenues of 82.2 million kronor in 2014 and net profits of 11.5 million.

Inspired by Sweden's reputation for equality and openness, the brand has become known for its aim to develop gender-neutral, inclusive games.

“Since the founding of Toca Boca, it's been a privilege to have the full backing and support of Bonnier whose values in entrepreneurship and freedom have allowed us to flourish and succeed,” said Björn Jeffery, CEO of Toca Boca. “We now look forward to joining strengths with Spin Master.”

Neither party would disclose the purchase price, but said the deal would be completed in May.

The sale of Toca Boca follows another big startup acquisition in Sweden this year. Swedish King, behind global mega hit Candy Crush, was recently snapped up by US company Activision Blizzard for $5.9 billion, effectively making the two firms the biggest computer gaming network in the world.